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Health Insight April 2001: Hopeful research

  The Royal Marsden Hospital is pioneering a technique that could prevent some cancer patients losing their limbs. With certain tumours, an arm or a leg has to be amputated to halt the spread of the disease. The use of chemotherapy to shrink such tumours is normally considered not to be an option because it would damage vital organs. However, specialists at the hospital have now treated 12 patients with chemotherapy after having cut off the blood supply to the affected limb, so the chemotherapy drugs do not reach the rest of the body. The tumours, all previously considered to be inoperable, have all been totally or partially destroyed, with no adverse effects elsewhere. The technique, known as isolated limb perfusion, involved the use of a by-pass machine so that the tissues of the isolated limb receive oxygen during the treatment.

Another hopeful cancer research project is examining the potential human use of a compound first developed for the treatment of animals. London vet John Carter created the compound, CV247, for use with cats and dogs, with which it has been very successful. Animals have been brought to his Harrow clinic from across the UK. CV247 is now being tested at Bedford Hospital on 40 patients with advanced cancers of the prostate, colon and ovary.

Source: BBC Online


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